Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Private Lives: A passion project behind the scenes

Shadab Ahmed
Senior Grey White, director of “Private Lives,” works on auditions in the Black Box Theatre on Feb 15.

As the moon made its appearance in the dark sky above the quad on Feb. 13, many students were heading to their dorms in hopes of ending their evening. But some passionate theater students were sitting down in the blue couches of Brunner Theatre anxiously waiting to audition for the upcoming show “Private Lives.” 

Students who were waiting to audition were of very diverse backgrounds and interests. However, they all had something in common: their joy for acting and wanting to share their talents with the whole Augustana community. 

Sophomore Audrey Siblik, who attended the audition, has been performing for nine years. Her passion for theater started at a very young age when she was in kindergarten and became involved in a theater camp for the first time. 

“I’ve been doing theater for so long and it’s just something that although I’m not necessarily going to have a career in [it], it’s always been something that I’ve always been super passionate about,” Siblik said. “It is one of the only things that I have not quit and I just really love it. It fulfills me.” 

Unlike traditional theater, this show aims to celebrate the wide diversity of gender identities through the use of comedy and the displaying of a variety of topics which are not often portrayed in common plays. One of the main topics is cheating culture.   

Junior Grey White, the director for “Private Lives,” said that the show will have a lot of similarities to “The God of Vengeance” production, given that it will allow representation of gay and non-binary characters at the forefront of the plot. Moreover, White said that during the auditions, his main focus was to find people who were willing to mold into the characters and try new things.

“There’s a lot of people that just stay still and read the lines on the page. I’m looking for people that really look into their part and will try to use a lot of expressions even if it’s just with their face,” White said. 

In addition to allowing many students to do what they enjoy most, this show will also allow actors to explore different identities and give them the opportunity to express their own identity through their personal contributions towards their characters. 

Sophomore Stephanie Gutierrez Reyes has been performing for eight years and has learned the importance of being able to feel comfortable with herself while stepping outside of those comfort zones. 

“I think that theater and shows are a really great way to explore different parts of yourself,” Gutierrez Reyes said. “I think that what’s fun about it is that you get to do something that maybe you never otherwise would do, or look into the headspace of a person that you never thought about before.” 

This show will be conducted in the Black Box theater, meaning the production will have few props and won’t have a budget like Mainstage productions do. The actors will have two months to rehearse and perfect their performance in order to attract the attention of the attendees and allow them to overlook the simplicity of the stage.

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